Supreme Court to consider Utah same-sex marriage case end of September

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The United States Supreme Court will meet again on September 29 for the first time since June and Utah’s Kitchen v. Herbert marriage equality case, along with similar cases from Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, and Oklahoma, have been added to the meeting’s agenda.

While not a decision to grant certiorari on any of the cases, the members of the Court will have the opportunity to select one or more of these cases for oral argument. Should the court pass on the marriage equality cases at this conference, there are eight additional conferences this year in which they could decide to hear any of the cases.

The September conference meeting is traditionally overloaded, as justices sort through all of the appeals that have been submitted during the 3-month summer recess. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has recently stated that she expects that the court will hear at least one marriage equality case and render a ruling before 2016. Many speculate that the case will be heard in the spring of 2015, with a decision as early as June.

Today, attorneys for the State of Utah filed the final papers required for Supreme Court consideration, a reply to the plaintiffs’ response of August 28. Both parties have urged the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Utah’s filing today argues that the Kitchen v. Herbert case is unique because it is representative of other states’ laws, while also being more inclusive than the other state cases. This case includes not only marriage licenses issued within the state of Utah, but also recognition for marriages from other jurisdictions.

The attorneys go further, arguing that the nature of this case makes it the final resolution on the matter.  “Third, the case offers an opportunity to review a state constitution and statutes that define marriage as only between a man and a woman and recognize only those marriages from couples in other states. Resolution of the issue will thus mark the end of marriage litigation … If this Court does not resolve the necessarily related recognition question, further litigation and uncertainty are assured.”


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